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The Essential Concepts of the Chinese Tea Ceremony

What is the Chinese Tea Ceremony? Before answering this question, we have to be clear about what Taoism is. Tao easy to define. The Changes indicates that "the spirit that is above the entity is called the Tao; the basic below the form is called the capacity". The spirit that is above refers to the abstractive level of thoughts, whilst the basic below means the tangible phenomenon. The scholars in Ancient times had discussed a lot about Tao. Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism thought that Tao is the source of the Universe, which existed before the existence of material. He said that" there is something complicated that existed before Nature occurred. It is quiet and invisible, independent without change, circulating without stopping. It probably is the mother of everything. I don't know its name, hence I name it Tao."

Confucius, the founder of Confucianism, thought that Taoism is the endless and unexplainable truth. He said "I will not regret to die only if I get clear about the meaning of Tao in the morning". Hui Neng, the Sixth generation Master of Buddahist Zen, wrote in the Altar Classics that "Taoism is inspired by the heart". These implied that the Ancient Chinese philosophers have a basically similar understanding of what Taoism is.

Being affected by Lao Zi's suggestion “Tao could be interpreted, but not in a normal way". The concept of the “Tea Ceremony" has not been clearly defined by anyone for over a thousand years since its turning up in the Tang Dynasty. "Till now we still could not find any vocabulary about the "Tea Ceremony" in dictionaries. But a lot of people started to realise that it is necessary to define the Chinese Tea Ceremony scientifically and a few experts and scholars have done some work on this.

Mr Zhou Zuoren thinks "The idea of the Tea Ceremony could be called being a means to snatch a little leisure from a busy life or make pleasure in a bitter life, in common words, enjoy a sort of beauty and harmony in an incomplete real world, feel the perpetuity in an instant."

Mr Wu Juenong thinks "Tea is a precious and magnificent beverage, a spiritual enjoyment, an art or a way to improve people's virtue and temper."

Mr Zhuang Wanfang thinks “Tea Ceremony is a ritual by which people teach courtesy and virtue".

People's opinions about the Tea Ceremony varies, just like the reflection of the moon in the rivers, some high up, some down to the bottom, some bright, some shy, some cold, some clear and direct, some moving, some aromatic. Actually there is just one moon, but the reflections differ. The Tea Ceremony is like the moon and people's hearts are like the river. The feeling changes depending upon the person's individual heart. We think that the Tea Ceremony is a vital part of Traditional Chinese Culture, which cares about both its personal knowledge and practices. Theoretically, the Chinese Tea Ceremony is a science that studies the relationship between tea and Chinese traditional culture and virtue improvement. Practically, the Chinese Tea Ceremony is about how to have an enriching and spiritually rewarding experience in life.